CALDWELL, N.J. – The Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) men's basketball team (17-12, 12-5 CACC) dropped its matchup against the Caldwell Cougars (14-12, 11-6 CACC) on Saturday afternoon in an NCAA DII Basketball Showcase on WatchESPN by a final of 73-63.
Caldwell scored the first five points of the game before Jefferson tied it up 8-8 with 16:25 to play in the first half. The squads were tied up again at 11-11, 13-13, 15-15 and 18-18 before Caldwell took a 25-21 edge with just under 10 minutes to play.
The game was all square again at 27-27, 30-30, 32-32 and 35-35 in the back and forth contest as the teams traded baskets in the first half.
Senior Kaison Randolph hit an off-balance shot off a screen, drilling a three with a hand in his face to give Jefferson a 38-36 lead with 26 seconds left on the clock in the opening period.
Jefferson committed a foul on an inbound play with 3.3 seconds on the clock. With the ball now in Caldwell's hands, Derek Dorn of the Cougars hit a three and was fouled on the attempt, completing the four-point play at the line. The quick turnaround gave Caldwell a 40-38 lead at halftime.
Randolph had 17 points behind 6-of-9 shooting at the break while freshman Alexander Gorton had 13 on 5-of-7 from the floor. The duo combined for 11-of-16 and 30 of the team's 38 first-half points.
Tied 48-48 with 13:58 to play in the game, the Cougars pulled away as they went on an 11-0 run to go up 59-48 with 10:07 to go. After scoring 38 points in the first half, Jefferson put up just 25 second-half points in the 73-63 loss.
Randolph finished with 23 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. He made a season-high seven three-pointers in the loss.
Gorton poured in 22 points as he and Randolph were the only two Rams in double figures.
The loss comes as the third straight for Jefferson, though the two previous losses were by a combined three points.
The team's 22 turnovers were a season high.
Jefferson shot 50.9% from the floor (29-of-57), 52.9% from behind the arc (9-of-17) and 75.0% from the line (6-of-8).
It marks the first loss for the Rams while shooting at least 50.0% from both the floor and three-point range since March 2, 2012 during the 2011-12 season in a 72-63 loss against Bloomfield in a CACC Championship semifinal game.
Jefferson Men's Basketball returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at the CACC South first-place Goldey-Beacom Lightning for an 8 p.m. matchup following the women's affair at 6 p.m.